How to Determine What Goals Your New Clients Should Pursue

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A significant source of frustration for people new to fitness is the inability to determine what goals to pursue. 

Of course, determining an objective can sometimes be easy. For example, if a very overweight person starts working with you, one of your first suggestions would be to get them on a weight loss plan.

Unfortunately, picking the correct objectives isn’t always as straightforward. The question is, what can you do about it?


First: The Obvious Choices

Before diving into the nitty-gritty side of goal-setting, let’s start with two simple and common scenarios: when a person is skinny or overweight.

Skinny people often don’t like how they look and are eager to put on some muscle mass. Your job as a coach is to provide realistic expectations and help them set some concrete goals.

Similarly, overweight folks want to lose weight and often turn to coaching because they are frustrated. Helping them get started and supporting them through a few quick wins can motivate them to stay consistent and work with you.


But What If The Answer Isn’t As Obvious?

Helping a client set goals is easy when the answer is in front of you. But what about those situations where people are more interested in generic goals like:


  • “I want to tone my body.” 
  • “I just want to have some abs.” 
  • “I just want to get fit and improve my health.” 


In a case where there isn’t an apparent issue to work on, the person is typically skinny fat. They appear slim while wearing clothes, but a layer of fat covers their body, robbing them of muscle definition and confidence.

While the situation is trickier to handle, it can also be an excellent opportunity to help people make significant progress in mere weeks. 

A skinny fat individual is often in a great position to do a body recomposition: lose fat and build muscle simultaneously. Doing so would result in quick visual improvements, better athleticism, confidence, and improved posture. 


How to Help Your Clients Pursue the Right Goals

Starting work with a new client can be scary, especially when the person doesn’t know exactly what they want. Your job is to clarify it for them and explain why one objective makes more sense than others.

For example, let’s say you start working with a girl who wants to ‘tone’ her body. As a coach, you understand what that means:


  • Building muscle
  • Shedding excess fat


Your job is to explain that ‘toning’ her body comes down to building actual muscle and losing fat to bring out definition.

You must explain what her desire looks like in a practical sense and convince her that these goals will help her get the body she desires. 

Being more specific with your recommendations is an excellent way to help new clients and teach them a thing or two. Losing weight and building muscle might be terms that roll off the tongue, but they don’t hold practical value. 

Instead, you should transform them into specific and actionable goals:


  • Lose weight Lose 15 pounds of fat in the next 12 weeks
  • Build muscle Gain 10 pounds of lean tissue in the next 6 months


In the case of a body recomposition, a more specific goal could be to reduce a person’s body fat by five percent while improving their fitness and helping them maintain their body weight.



Goals are not the most crucial piece of the equation, but they are necessary and provide direction for your clients.

Helping your clients get clear on what goals to pursue will help them save time, remain more motivated, and be more likely to succeed in the long run.

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